Appeal from the Order of the Secretary of Education in case of Grant D. Steffen v. The Board of School Directors of the South Middletown Township School District, Teacher Tenure Appeal No. 259.
Gerald E. Ruth, for petitioner.
Harold E. Sheely, for respondent.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Judge Kramer did not participate in the decision. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr. Judge Kramer did not participate in the decision in this case. See Pa. R.a.p. 3102(d).
[ 32 Pa. Commw. Page 188]
This is an appeal by Grant D. Steffen (Steffen), a tenured professional employe, from an order of the Secretary of Education (Secretary) affirming his dismissal by the South Middletown Township School District (School District) for "incompetency" under the
[ 32 Pa. Commw. Page 189]
pertinent section of the Public School Code of 1949*fn1 (Code).
The factual background of this case is important because of the nature of the issues raised by Steffen. Steffen began working in the School District as a teacher of special education in August of 1968. In June of 1972, the superintendent of the School District instituted a uniform evaluation and rating procedure for all professional employes. The School District superintendent, during the summer of 1973, revised the district's special education program for secondary students. Under the former system, Steffen instructed all of the special education students. The new program required that the students be mainstreamed, that is, placed in a regular learning environment with the other students.
In August of 1973, the superintendent notified Steffen that his special education position was abolished due to the paucity of special education students as well as the change in the educational format. Steffen was offered an alternative teaching position in English and Social Studies. Steffen refused that offer and he was suspended because of his rejection of the proffered position. He was placed on a school district waiting list for an opening in his field of certification.
The School District was informed by the Commission of Basic Education that it could not curtail its special education program because Department of Education approval was not obtained. As a result, Steffen was reinstated and taught special education for the entire 1973-74 school year.
Steffen received a satisfactory rating for the 1972-73 school year; an unsatisfactory rating for the first semester of the ...